OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are in the market for an outside linebacker and a surprising target has unexpectedly surfaced.
The Miami Dolphins are expected to release Kyle Van Noy after just one season if they can't find a suitable trade partner. However, his massive four-year, $51 million contract could close the door on any type of deal.
As a result, Van Noy could hit the free-agent market with a huge list of suitors that will likely include the Ravens.
Baltimore has five outside linebackers — Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser, Pernell McPhee and Jihad Ward — that are unrestricted free agents. Van Noy could help fill the void and make an impact with the pass rush.
The Dolphins signed Van Noy last offseason to bring veteran leadership to the defense as well as some versatility, and that’s pretty much what he provided. Van Noy battled through a couple of injuries (hip, hand) and ended up playing 14 games with 13 starts and had six sacks, although three of them came against the Cincinnati Bengals and their woeful offensive line.
While Van Noy’s performance in 2020 certainly could be classified as solid, it also would be a stretch to call him a difference-maker and he actually might have been only the third-best linebacker on the team behind Jerome Baker and Andrew Van Ginkel.
The decision to move on from him, regardless of whether it comes via trade or he’s simply released, certainly was attention-grabbing because the Dolphins gave him a four-year contract last year and also because of his connection with Brian Flores from their time together in New England.
That said, the Dolphins will save a lot of cap space by dumping Van Noy ($9.8 million or $12.5 million if designated as a post-June 1 cut) and the Dolphins can replace his production either with Van Ginkel getting an increased role on defense or by picking up another linebacker via free agency or through the draft.
Van Noy figures to attract a lot of interest once he hits the open market, though he might not be able to land the kind of deal he got from the Dolphins in March 2020.
The Ravens will likely be in the mix for his services.
Alain Poupart, Publisher of AllDolphins for Sports Illustrated, contributed to this report.